HIV patients can now get monthly, FDA-approved injections, replacing multiple daily treatments

The Food and Drug Administration on [January 21] approved a combination of two monthly shots for treatment of H.I.V. in patients in stable condition. The treatment is called Cabenuva.

One of the two shots also has been shown to be as effective at preventing H.I.V. infection as a pill taken daily, a treatment strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. But the approval on [January 21] covers only Cabenuva’s use as a treatment.

Many people struggle to take the pills they need every day, for a variety of reasons. The consequences for people with H.I.V. can be significant, because missed pills give the virus opportunities to become resistant to the medications.

And then there is the stigma of daily pill use, which is both societal and psychological, said Dr. Tom Giordano, chief of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who was not involved in the trials.

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Nine in 10 people in a trial of Cabenuva said they preferred the monthly injections to taking a pill every day. “You get your shot and forget about it till the next month,” Dr. Giordano said. “That’s great, and will help people who don’t want the reminder of stigma or taking pills every day.”

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